I remember well that cold, wet February evening when I walked in to my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I believe that the minute I walked in the door my spirit began to awaken from a deep and deadly sleep. The room was bright, warm, full of people with love for me before they even learned my name. Yes, I inwardly rolled my eyes at the corny slogans on the wall -- One Day at a Time and Easy Does It – but the atmosphere of the room reached a part of me that had grown as cold as the weather outside.
A kind woman gave me the A.A. Big Book and in it she wrote, “It’s a WE deal!” Apparently, that was the topic of that night’s discussion. All I can remember was the talk about God. I thought God had abandoned me and I cried through most of the meeting.
A few members of the group invited me to dinner and I followed them to a local restaurant. I had a bowl of soup and listened to their happy conversation about their lives and how A.A. worked. When a young man asked if I still had alcohol in the house, I answered honestly, yes. I believe that was the first fruit of my spiritual awakening, that simple honest answer from me – a person who lied when telling the truth would be just as easy. Someone else asked me if I could pour it out when I got home. Again, an honest answer came from me when I admitted that I didn’t think I could do it. It was suggested that I put it outside, away from sight. I believed I could do that much and I did.
I was so hungry for relief from the agony of my alcoholism that I read almost the entire Big Book before I went to sleep. I also prayed the Serenity Prayer that night and the miracle of my spiritual awakening really kicked in.
By the time I started on my second step with the guidance of a sponsor, I had become reacquainted with the God of love I’d grown to know as a child. I had no trouble turning my will and my life over to the care of God when I did my Third Step on the banks of a beautiful little creek near my home group.
The rest of the steps weren’t as easy or maybe I wasn’t quite as desperate but I did them to the best of my ability. When I got to Step Eleven, it was like coming to an oasis. Establishing “conscious contact” with something I couldn’t see, hear or touch was a challenge but the process of prayer and meditation brought me then and now into contact with a loving force beyond my understanding.
I arranged a small meditation spot at a table with windows on two sides. I keep a small vase of fresh flowers, a candle, my journals, a meditation book, my bible and a few other things that are special to me. Almost every morning, I make time for what I call “Coffee with Jesus” at this small table. My gray cat often joins me and as I enjoy this quiet time with my Lord and we watch the birds and squirrels in the backyard.
Currently, I’m struggling with a couple of life’s challenges and I have to admit that I’ve been discouraged and questioned God’s love for me as well as his very existence. Nevertheless, I continue to have that brief quiet time at my table in the mornings. It enriches my spiritual connection even in these times of doubt. If I keep at it, I know my spirit will continue to awaken a little more day by day in spite of trouble and the difficulties that life presents me. God is good!